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Cardinality_2

Cardinality_2

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Published by: Amber Habib on Nov 14, 2011
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The Size of a Set – 2
Infinite Sets, Countability
Amber HabibDepartment of MathematicsShiv Nadar University
Abstract
Notes for the Precalculus course taught to 1st year students of the B.S.Mathematics program.
1 Infinite Sets
Definition 1.1
A set is
infinite
if it is not finite, i.e. if it has a proper subset with the same cardinality.
Example 1.2
The set
N
is infinite since
N
\ {
1
}
is a proper subset with thesame cardinality.
2
Exercise 1.3
If 
|
A
| |
B
|
and
A
is infinite, then
B
is infinite.The set of natural numbers is as small as an infinite set can be:
Theorem 1.4
A
is infinite if and only if 
|
N
| ≤ |
A
|
.
Proof:
The ‘if’ part follows from the previous exercise. For the ‘only if’ part,assume
A
is infinite. Then
A
has a proper subset
B
with a bijection
g
:
A
B
.Let
x
A
\
B
. Now define a function
:
N
A
by
(
n
) =
g
n
(
x
) = (
g
◦···◦
g
  
 

 
 
n
times
)(
x
)It is easy to check that
is an injection and so
|
N
| ≤ |
A
|
.
2
Recall that
n
=
{
1
,...,n
}
if 
n
N
, and
0
=
.
Theorem 1.5
A
is infinite if and only if 
|
n
| ≤ |
A
|
for all 
n
.
1
 
Proof:
Suppose
A
is finite. Then
|
A
|
=
|
n
|
for some
n
, and so
|
A
|
<
|
n
+1
|
.This proves the “if” direction. On the other hand, if 
A
is infinite, we have
|
N
| ≤ |
A
|
and so
|
n
| ≤ |
A
|
for all
n
.
2
Thus an infinite set is larger than any finite set.
Theorem 1.6
If 
A
is an infinite set and 
B
is a finite subset of 
A
, then 
|
A
\
B
|
=
|
A
|
.
Proof:
It is enough to prove the case when
B
is a singleton:
B
=
{
b
}
. Since
A
is infinite, it has a subset
with the same cardinality as
N
and we can assume
=
{
b
1
=
b,b
2
,b
3
,...
}
. Now define a bijection
g
:
A
A
\
B
by
g
(
a
) =
b
n
+1
a
=
b
n
a a
B
2
2 Countable Sets
Definition 2.1
A set 
A
is called 
countably infinite
if 
|
A
|
=
|
N
|
. We denoteits cardinality by 
0
(pronounced ‘Aleph-Nought’).
We have seen that
n <
0
for every
n
= 0
,
1
,
2
,...
and that
0
|
A
|
forevery infinite set
A
.
Definition 2.2
A set is called 
countable
if it is either finite or countably infi-nite.
Example 2.3
We have seen earlier that
N
\{
1
}
and 2
N
have the same cardinalityas
N
– hence they are countably infinite. The set of integers
Z
is also countablyinfinite: Consider
g
:
N
Z
defined by
g
(
n
) =
n
2
n
even
n
12
n
oddThis is a bijection.
2
Exercise 2.4
If 
A
and
B
are countable, so is
A
B
.
Exercise 2.5
If 
A
1
,...,A
n
are countable, so is
ni
=1
A
i
.
Example 2.6
A rather startling example of a countably infinite set is
N
×
N
.On the face of it, it looks much larger than
N
as it contains infinitely many copiesof 
N
. Nevertheless, we have
|
N
×
N
|
=
|
N
|
. We first present the proof pictorially.2
 
Arrange the elements of 
N
×
N
in an infinite grid, and then ‘snake’ through themas shown below:(1
,
1) (1
,
2) (1
,
3) (1
,
4)
···
(2
,
1) (2
,
2) (2
,
3) (2
,
4)
···
(3
,
1) (3
,
2) (3
,
3) (3
,
4)
···
(4
,
1) (4
,
2) (4
,
3) (4
,
4)
···
...............The arrows lead to the following sequential arrangement of 
N
×
N
(1
,
1)
,
(2
,
1)
,
(1
,
2)
,
(3
,
1)
,
(2
,
2)
,
(1
,
3)
,
(4
,
1)
,
(3
,
2)
,
(2
,
3)
,
(1
,
4)
, ...
and this establishes a bijection with
N
.We can give an explicit formula for the bijection
g
:
N
×
N
N
revealed bythis diagram:
g
(
m,n
) =12(
m
+
n
1)(
m
+
n
2) +
n
2
Exercise 2.7
If 
A
is countably infinite, so is
A
×
A
.
Exercise 2.8
If 
A
is countable, so is
A
×
A
.
Exercise 2.9
If 
A
1
,A
2
,...
are countable, so is
i
=1
A
i
.
Theorem 2.10
The set 
Q
of rational numbers is countably infinite.
Proof:
Since
N
Q
, we see that
0
|
Q
|
. Next we give an injection
g
:
Q
Z
×
Z
. Recall that a non-zero rational number can be written uniquely in theform
p/q
where
p
Z
,
q
N
and
p,q
are coprime. Now define
g
by
g
(
r
) =
0
, r
= 0(
 p,q
)
, r
=
pq, p
Z
\{
0
}
, q
N
and
p,q
are coprimeSince
g
is an injection, we have
|
Q
| ≤ |
Z
×
Z
|
=
0
.
2
3 Uncountable Sets
Definition 3.1
A set is called 
uncountable
if it is not countable. If 
A
isuncountable we write
0
<
|
A
|
3

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